12 For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. 13 For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end; 14 just as you also partially did understand us, that we are your reason to be proud as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.15 In this confidence I intended at first to come to you, so that you might twice receive a blessing; 16 that is, to pass your way into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea.
The word “proud” in today’s passage seemed a bit oddly placed because we know that human pride is what causes us to stumble away from the Glory of God. Why then would Paul use this word? I looked into the original text and the Greek word used here is kauchema which actually means “to rejoice”. Paul isn’t talking about pride in a sense that we would normally think, but rather “that we can confidently rejoice.” Ok, now that we cleared that up, what exactly are Paul and the Corinthians rejoicing about?
They are rejoicing in the advance of The Gospel. Paul is rejoicing because he continued to instruct the Corinthians and they finally “got it.” Jesus used to say after His parables, “he who has ears, let him hear.” The Corinthians were open to the truth of the Gospel of Christ and therefore continue to be transformed by it. The Corinthians too, as Paul reminds them, can rejoice because they are on their way to freedom in Christ. They are no longer being enslaved by the bondage of sinfulness because God continues to open their eyes to the truth of God.
Paul’s biggest motivation in all this is knowing the wonder of the work of God and His love for us. When I say “knowing” I don’t mean that because Paul had the scriptures memorized he knew; rather He knew first hand from experience the power and love of God because he opened himself up to be transformed, just as the Corinthians now have. This is what Paul is talking about in verse 12 when he talks about the testimony of our conscience. Too often we think “being saved” is just a one time event. We think that we pray a simple prayer and then that’s it, we go on with our lives. However, Jesus calls us to be transformed by what has been done. The saving power of God’s grace saves us from a life of worldliness and gives us an opportunity to live a life of holiness.
Receiving the Holy Spirit in our souls is just the beginning. After that, we get to live out the life God intended for us, part of which is using us to tell others of the glory of God just as Paul did with the Corinthians. The “churchy” word for this is sanctification, the transformation of our minds and hearts to match the will of God. While this seems like a constant uphill battle, we have the power of God within us to help us through it all.
Don’t you want to be set free?